World

China Sends More Planes Over Taiwan, Says Island ‘Is Not Ukraine’

(Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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China flew nine People’s Liberation Army planes over Taiwan on Thursday, the National Defense Ministry announced, in an apparent test of the resolve of both the island nation and its Western supporters amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has expressed support for Ukraine, saying in late January that Taiwan “empathize[s] with Ukraine’s situation” since it “has faced military threats and intimidation from China for a long time.” Ukraine does not recognize Taiwan as a separate country, officially holding to the One-China Policy since 1992. (RELATED: Taiwan ‘On Alert’ After Record Number Of Chinese Planes Enter Airspace, Warns Of ‘Catastrophic’ Consequences If Its Democracy Falls)

Taiwan increased its military spending by nearly $9 billion over the five-year period beginning in 2022, over a 2022 base spending amount of about $16.7 billion. The country plans to use the extra funds on cruise missiles and stealth warships, Reuters reported.

Many observers have drawn parallels between the fates of Ukraine and Taiwan, particularly after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick described both countries as “scared to death” in September 2021, shortly after the terrorist group took Kabul. After President Joe Biden claimed that NATO allies might “fight about what to do” in the case of a “minor incursion” into Ukraine, Republican Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher said in January that the president’s rhetoric “invites major incursions in Ukraine, Taiwan, and around the world.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying downplayed similarities between the two situations Wednesday.

“Taiwan is not Ukraine,” she said, according to Reuters. “Taiwan has always been an inalienable part of China. This is an indisputable legal and historical fact.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made similar comments about the history of Ukraine. He claimed in a Monday speech that Ukraine “was created by Vladimir Lenin” and that the Soviet Union was forced into “giving [it] away” after the Russian Civil War.

Putin frequently refers to this revisionist account of eastern European history when justifying Russian military actions against Ukraine.

“The Bolsheviks treated the Russian people as inexhaustible material for their social experiments. They dreamt of a world revolution that would wipe out national states,” he wrote in a July 2021 essay. “One fact is crystal clear: Russia was robbed, indeed.”